If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how critical our existing customer relationships are to our businesses. The same is true of our partner relationships. A valuable partner relationship results in advantages for you, your customers, and for us. But the research I’ve been reading reinforces the reality that our customers are not going back to business as usual prior to the pandemic. At least not entirely. Neither are we.
Change is constant in this new reality. It can be challenging, but there are three emerging shifts that can help us all build better relationships with our customers—making them “stickier”—as well as more loyal.
Forrester said years ago that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep and grow an existing customer. Yet many of us are still chasing net new customers, rather than working to retain and grow existing customers. The events of the last year have helped us all refocus on customers, but we need to evolve along with them to build deeper customer relationships.
As a Modus partner, you provide tools to enhance the services and technology you already deliver to your customers. By combining our capabilities in the right ways you’ll deliver even more value and gain that “must keep” vendor status your competitors covet.
I’d like to share three key shifts that can elevate our customer relationships to “must keep” status.
Shift Focus from Customer Experience to Customer Outcomes
For the past several years, we’ve placed heightened emphasis on customer experiences and journeys. But what if our focus switches to the customer’s primary goal: their desired outcome or result?
When we take the time to really understand the customer’s primary pain points, as well as the cost to their business of not addressing the pain, then we can clearly articulate how our solutions can address their pain—and accelerate achievement of their desired outcomes. To do this effectively and rapidly, we must collaborate across the business. This involves bringing sales, marketing, service, product, and support teams together to ensure alignment of goals and expectations and in turn, adoption.
Matt Sweezey, Director of Market Strategy at Salesforce, echoes this shift in the recent eBook:
So it isn't a focus on 'experience' that separates the two (experience and outcomes); rather, it’s the operational excellence to create an experience that guides the customer across their journey to reach their desired goal. Said another way: experiences are simply the method to producing better outcomes and are not the goal in and of themselves.”
This shift to blurring the boundaries between customer-facing departments is emerging as revenue operations or RevOps. Sales enablement provides a terrific starting point for helping your customers make the transition to a RevOps approach. By doing so, it’s simpler to see beyond the experience you’re delivering to the value desired by the customers you’re serving.
Grow Beyond Customer Experience (CX) to the Business of Experience (BX)
As we saw throughout 2020, nearly everything about how we do business and how we exchange information and communicate with others has been upended. A shift to focus on the overall experience and the associated outcomes achieved is required to meet customers' dynamic needs and stay a step ahead of the competition.
This is where the Business of Experience (BX) comes into play. This shift embraces a complete approach that works to ‘solve for human needs around a purpose.’ In contrast, traditional Customer Experience (CX) focuses on optimizing customer touchpoints around products and services. Successful companies are beginning to adopt this holistic and results-oriented thinking brought by BX.
This new thinking requires us to collectively consider the people, process, and technology aspects of a comprehensive, result-driven solution. From a technology perspective, this includes front-end technologies and CRM. Process considerations include business models, channel optimization, marketing, sales, and services. Finally, we must consider the impacts that the technology and operational changes will have on employees and customers. By working together to address these areas with a customized solution, we create extreme value for our customers, help them meet their sales growth targets, and develop a trusting relationship.
A study done by Accenture notes that:
An evolution of CX, BX is a more holistic approach that allows organizations to become customer obsessed and reignite growth. Whereas CX was limited to CMO’s or COO’s purview, BX is in the boardroom as a CEO priority because it ties back to every aspect of a company’s operations. In fact, 77% of CEOs said their company will fundamentally change the way it engages and interacts with its customers.”
By approaching customers with this new way of thinking and building our solutions around the delivery of creating exceptional experiences and outcomes for every part of the business, we create more loyal customers due to deepening customer relationships.
Successful Onboarding is Critical for Customer Relationships
We've all heard of those accounts that once the ink has dried on the contract the customer is left to launch their shiny new sales enablement tools to their sales force. The customer is not likely to have the knowledge of how to organize their media based on targeted research of the needs of their users. Further, creating an architecture design integrating sales enablement with legacy systems may be beyond their capabilities. As we all know, this is a sure formula for unmet customer expectations and one that most often leads to a customer churn. Onboarding needs to include thoughtful consultation.
Once we establish clear expectations for roll-out and onboarding, we need to remain committed to adoption and staying hands-on during the process. This active involvement creates a productive relationship with the customer and the customer success team supporting them.
Most implementations are bound to encounter an issue or two especially when several different platforms and services are being integrated. Studies have shown that encountering an issue with a quick response and correction from the seller and customer success team, leads to a more committed and engaged customer in the long run.
Working Together, Customer Value and Retention are Realized
The world is changing faster than ever before. As we work together to adapt to a focus on your customers' outcomes, rather than discrete experiences, and expand from CX to BX, we build valuable relationships across the company. These relationships increase both the perceived value and quantifiable outcomes of our combined solutions, ultimately raising customer stickiness and creating reference-able advocates to propel success with new prospects.